United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
William J. Martínez United States District Judge.
insurance dispute, Plaintiff Markel Insurance Company
(“MIC”) seeks a declaratory judgment that
Defendant Edward Hollandsworth is not entitled to coverage
under the uninsured/underinsured motorist
(“UM/UIM”) portion of his employer's
insurance policy (the “Policy”). (ECF No. 1.)
Hollandsworth filed counterclaims seeking a declaratory
judgment that he is entitled to coverage under the Policy, as
well as claiming breach of contract and statutory bad faith
breach of an insurance contract under Colorado Revised
Statutes §§ 10-3-1115 & -1116. (ECF No. 12.)
before the Court are the parties' cross motions for
summary judgment. The parties seek clarity from this Court
about whether Hollandsworth may recover under the UM/UIM
portion of his employer's Policy in addition to the
workers' compensation scheme. (ECF Nos. 23 & 24.) MIC
also seeks summary judgment in its favor on Hollandsworth
counterclaims for breach of contract and statutory bad faith
breach of an insurance contract. (ECF No. 24 at 11-12.) For
the reasons discussed below, the Court finds as a matter of
law that Hollandsworth is not entitled to coverage under the
Policy. The Court thus will grant MIC's Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 24), deny Hollandsworth's
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 23), direct entry of
judgment for MIC, and terminate the case.
material facts are not disputed. The following summary is
drawn from the undisputed facts of the parties' motions
and exhibits submitted in support thereof.
employer, Southern Colorado Rural Emergency Medical Services,
Inc. d/b/a Med Trans Ambulance (“Southern
Colorado”), maintained the Policy through MIC. (ECF No.
23 at 2, ¶¶ 1-2; ECF No. 24 at 2-3, ¶¶ 1,
5, 6.) The Policy included commercial automobile insurance
and UM/UIM insurance coverage in the amount of $300, 000.
(ECF No. 23 at 3, ¶ 10; ECF No. 24 at 2, 4, ¶¶
1, 8.) T he UM/UIM portion of the Policy states that MIC will
“pay all sums the ‘insured' is legally
entitled to recover as compensatory damages from the owner or
driver of an ‘uninsured motor vehicle.'” (ECF
No. 23 at 3, ¶ 11; ECF No. 24 at 3, ¶ 3.) The
Policy states that MIC “will not pay for any element of
‘loss' if a person is entitled to receive payment
for the same element of ‘loss' under any
workers' compensation, disability benefits, or similar
law.” (ECF No. 24 at 3, ¶ 4; ECF No. 24-1 at 51.)
13, 2015, Hollandsworth was in a automobile accident at work
while riding as a passenger in a Southern Colorado ambulance,
which was insured under the Policy and driven by Donald Cook,
another employee of Southern Colorado. (ECF No. 23 at 2-3,
¶¶ 1, 3-5, 8; ECF No. 24 at 3, ¶¶ 5-6.)
The “accident arose out of and during the course of
both Mr. Hollandsworth's and Mr. Cook's employment
with Southern Colorado.” (ECF No. 23 at 3, ¶ 6;
ECF No. 24 at 3, ¶ 5.) Following the accident,
Hollandsworth claimed and received workers' compensation
benefits. (ECF No. 23 at 3, ¶ 7; ECF No. 24 at 4, ¶
around June 1, 2018, Hollandsworth notified MIC that he had
“incurred serious injuries as a result of the
negligence of [MIC's] insured [Mr. Cook], ” that he
sought UM/UIM benefits under the Policy, and that his
injuries and damages likely exceeded the $300, 000 limit for
UM/UIM benefits under the Policy. (ECF No. 24 at 4, ¶ 8;
ECF No. 23 at 3-4, ¶ 11.) MIC acknowledged the claim and
advised Hollandsworth that it would investigate the claim
subject to a reservation of rights. (ECF No. 23 at 4, ¶
13; ECF No. 24 at 4, ¶ 9.) MIC then filed this
declaratory judgment action.
judgment is warranted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56 “if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a);
see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248-50 (1986). Whether there is a genuine dispute as to
a material fact depends upon whether the evidence presents a
sufficient disagreement to require submission to the
factfinder or, conversely, is so one-sided that one party
must prevail as a matter of law. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 248-49; Stone v. Autoliv ASP, Inc., 210 F.3d 1132
(10th Cir. 2000). A fact is “material” if, under
the relevant substantive law, it is essential to the proper
disposition of the claim. Wright v. Abbott Labs.,
Inc., 259 F.3d 1226, 1231-32 (10th Cir. 2001). An issue
is “genuine” if the evidence is such that it
might lead a reasonable trier of fact to return a verdict for
the nonmoving party. Allen v. Muskogee, 119 F.3d
837, 839 (10th Cir. 1997).
analyzing a motion for summary judgment, a court must view
the evidence and all reasonable inferences therefrom in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Adler v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir.
1998) (citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). In addition, the
Court must resolve factual ambiguities against the moving
party, thus favoring the right to a trial. See Houston v.
Nat'l Gen. Ins. Co., 817 F.2d 83, 85 (10th Cir.
Court has diversity jurisdiction over this lawsuit
(see ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 1-4), and thus applies
Colorado courts have addressed the interplay of the Colorado
Workers Compensation Act, Colo. Rev. Stat. §§
8-41-101 et seq. (“WCA”), and
Colorado's UM/UIM statute, Colo. Rev. Stat. §
10-4-609, several times, although never the precise question
before the Court. “Where no controlling state decision
exists, the federal court must attempt to predict what the
state's highest court would do.” Wankier v.